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Beazley under fire for linking mine disaster -

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Broadcast: 02/05/2006

Beazley under fire for linking mine disaster to IR laws

Reporter: Greg Jennett

TONY JONES: Kim Beazley has been publicly rebuked by fellow Labor leader Steve Bracks for
capitalising on the Tasmanian mining tragedy. Responding to Mr Beazley's attempts to link the
disaster to the Government's new workplace laws, the Victorian Premier says overplaying such
matters gets oppositions into difficulties. And Kim Beazley's certainly facing difficulties in the
latest opinion polls, where support for his leadership and Labor's primary vote have both taken a
dive. From Canberra, Greg Jennett reports.

GREG JENNETT: With the Government still baying for an apology, Kim Beazley's digging in.

KIM BEAZLEY, OPPOSITION LEADER: I am going to stand up for what is right for the health and safety
of every worker in this country till hell freezes over.

KEVIN ANDREWS, WORKPLACE RELATIONS MINISTER: This was a very insensitive comment that he shouldn't
have made in the first place. I think he ought to just have the decency now to say, "I was wrong".

GREG JENNETT: The Opposition leader will say no such thing, adamant that the trapped Beaconsfield
miners and all mineworkers will be in greater danger as a result of the Government's industrial
relations changes.

KIM BEAZLEY: The person who is politicising this is Kevin Andrews.

GREG JENNETT: But even in his own party, Kim Beazley's looking isolated.

STEVE BRACKS, VICTORIAN PREMIER: I think, from time to time, oppositions will try and capitalise on
tragedies. I think oppositions sometimes can get into some difficulty by overplaying their hand on
those matters, but in this case, with Kim Beazley directly, it's a matter for him to explain.

GREG JENNETT: It's not the only rebuke Kim Beazley's suffered. The latest Newspoll suggests he's
being snubbed by voters too, running third behind Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd as preferred leader.

INTERVIEWER: Are you sure you're going to be leading the party come the next election?

KIM BEAZLEY: Yes I am, and what it means is Julia Gillard will be a very popular health minister
and Kevin Rudd a very popular foreign minister.

GREG JENNETT: The Newspoll also shows more would prefer Peter Costello as prime minister than Kim

TONY ABBOTT, HEALTH MINISTER: I've always known that Peter Costello had a lot more support than Kim

GREG JENNETT: And in a voter panel, apparently randomly selected for an SBS program on the Labor
Party tonight, the news wasn't much better.

GEORGE NEGUS, 'INSIGHT', SBS: Does the Labor Party have to change its leader before the next
election? Hands up those who think they should. Whoop-de-do! Hello Kim, if you're listening.

KIM BEAZLEY: I don't worry about the polls. I've been in the business a very long period of time
and I know what happens during the course of an election campaign.

GREG JENNETT: Kim Beazley insists he will win and industrial relations will help him do it. It's
the one issue Labor believes is emerging as a real vote swinger, an explanation for why Mr Beazley
pushed it so hard yesterday, and will again tomorrow, in a major speech in Canberra on the fears of
middle Australia. Greg Jennett, Lateline.

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